Abstract / Description of output
Wildlife crime continues to pose a great threat to animal and plant populations and their environments. Among the different disciplines striving to halt the current biodiversity crisis, wildlife forensics has become instrumental in combating wildlife crime, with the application of DNA forensics methods to the gathering of evidence and intelligence for investigations gaining increasing importance. The wide range of services offered by wildlife DNA forensics laboratories requires the development of diagnostic genetic markers and robust molecular genetics protocols to ensure that any evidence gathered can withstand scrutiny in court. Appropriately vouchered reference samples are crucial for the generation of robust wildlife forensics DNA data; however, access to these reference samples for rare, endangered species, or those inhabiting remote areas, can be challenging. Here, we highlight the importance of conservation and research-focused biobanks as a source to obtain adequate reference samples for wildlife DNA forensics. Furthermore, we encourage collaboration between wildlife forensic geneticists and conservation and research-focused biobanks, as well as the sharing of digital DNA among the wildlife forensics community, as strategies to overcome the challenges associated with sample and DNA data acquisition and hence accelerate the successful implementation of law enforcement for combating wildlife crime.